Many people seem to have reservations when it comes to buying expensive wedding dresses, diamond rings or other bridal jewellery from local jewellers or online vendors. In the case of diamond rings, in particular, one may even be concerned of how the beautiful lady on whose nimble fingers, the ring will finally rest would feel when she finds out where the ring came from. Well, are the physical jewellers any better if you consider reliability? How sure can you be that a smart salesperson will not smooth-talk you and push the price up, while still trying to convince you that no one else has got such a great deal all through the year! Well, sales-persons earn their living that way and it is for you to be an informed customer before walking in. Well, both options have the same elements of safety and risk. Let us, therefore, break it down and see what works best for you.
Advantages of buying online
It gets a lot easier to explore and compare your options and pushy salespersons won’t be breathing down your neck. Inventory carrying costs are significantly low for online vendors since most of what you see on the websites are owned by a third party and that means you generally find the prices to be lower compared to physical jewellery stores. Now, if you are dealing with a large and reputed player in the digital world such as Jason Grech or Joseph George Jewellers, you should find some solid refund terms and policies. The trick, however, is to read the fine print, in all its details and ensure that you can get a 100% refund and not merely an exchange and that there are no hidden charges for the refund such as restocking fees.
Disadvantages of buying online
The internet, as we all know, is a huge unregulated space and has its share of good and bad elements selling genuine as well as spurious diamonds. If you cannot differentiate between the good and bad or take help of someone who does, you could potentially end up with a terrible and expensive decision. The inventory you see on the online stores are hardly ever seen by the owners of the website, nor do they quality control or edit the stones. Further, the visual appeal and colours can be significantly different when you look at them with naked eyes.
Reliability of online testimonials
On Amazon.com, if you are examining testimonials from several hundred users and you get an average of 4.7-star rating, chances are that the product is worth your money. But, diamonds constitute a wholly different story. Some merchants alone can rate the product and no customer can do that. What you might see however is a rating for the store. To add to it, the internal characteristics of a diamond can seldom be seen with naked eyes and those are characteristics that significantly impact the value of the diamond as well as its durability. So, any amount of testimonials can only speak of the store and their reputation in terms of accepting refunds, shipping on time etc and not individual diamonds.
You must see the diamond before paying for it
The average individual can gauge a diamond only through comparing and contrasting it physically. When you buy from online stores, you only click a few buttons and wait for the merchandise to arrive safely over the next few days. This factor becomes even more overwhelming when you are buying fancy shapes. Add to this, the reliability of the information provided on the site or through a customer service agent that is not always accompanied by responsibility you would want to take the online vendors with a grain of salt. Finally, there is also the question of after sale service which might hardly exist with online vendors.
Does that add up to dumping the online vendors?
The answer is no! What is needed is intelligent shopping. You should, therefore, go offline first to understand colour, shape, size and size and remember to shop for a diamond that comes with reports from independent labs confirming the specifications laid out by the store. You can now go back to the online stores and compare attributes like the grading report and get the best price. Yes, this can be pretty time consuming but remember you are buying diamonds and without adequate research, it is nearly impossible to make the right judgement.
At the online, ensure that you get a refund policy, no fee on restocking and other fine print that can cost you money. A trustworthy grading report is another important factor.
Buying diamonds from physical stores
Seeing the diamonds with your own eyes cannot be substituted. A reputed jeweller will show you a wide range of options within your budget and educate you on the 4 Cs of a diamond. With that, you can zero in on a great diamond. And, you can also have your chosen diamond in your pocket when you walk out of the store. You may also find stores offering a great upgrade or buy-back policies as well as more attractive financing plans. Diamonds do need maintenance and a relationship with the physical store means you have someone to fall back upon when needed.
But, physical retailers also mean significantly higher overheads, inventory, rent, electricity, employees and all that. These costs will obviously add on to what you buy from the store, in part at least.
Another thing you should know when you visit the retail showrooms is that all the salespersons you servicing you may position themselves as ‘diamond experts’. But, you should know that diamond expertise is a different cup of tea. The primary objective of a salesperson is to ‘sell’ not so much to educate you. Therefore, you ran an amount of risk being misled and misinformed both unintentionally and intentionally
In conclusion, extensive research and consultation with elder family members or friends who have recently bought diamond are essential to buy your diamond engagement ring safely online.